The Grade Two classroom library in John S. Read School in North Camden drifted into my mind as my granddaughter fell asleep in my arms. She hadn’t wanted to sleep, but wanted me to read to her. I took my book, Irish History for Dummies, away from her and we read her books. Her eyelids fluttered.
I put her in her crib and she slept so I sat back in the rocker. Would she be a girl who loved books like me? I thought of the books about twins that had awaited me on the floor level shelves in Miss Robinson’s room. I was desperate for those books and I rushed messily through Think and Do workbook assignments and pages of addition and subtraction to read those books about kids all over the world.
It was satisfying to look up online that set of books from the 1950s –they did exist—not a figment of my imagination. I especially remember The Swiss Twins, The Dutch Twins, The Farm Twins, The Chinese Twins and my favorite, The Belgian Twins. Lucy Fitch Perkins wrote most of them and I wish I could have told her how much pleasure they gave a little Camden girl.
Almost sixty years later, I remember the girl twin in Belgium who loved pickles. I have a vague memory that if she got into some small mischief or didn’t do her chores that she wouldn’t be allowed to have her pickle or to buy it. Her twin, a boy, was sympathetic. It’s funny what I can remember and what I don’t!
Those twin books gave me an early glimpse of lives outside of Camden. Thank you to Miss Robinson who never reprimanded me for hurrying through classwork to propel myself into other places of the world while my fellow pupils were carefully and neatly finishing the assignments.
I still love to read about different places in the world through mysteries, novels, biographies, autobiographies and memoirs set in different countries. And—travel guides! Those books bring the world to me in my home here in Cramer Hill. The twin books and my teacher’s leniency might have set off that interest?
If there was a moral to this tale, it might be to encourage a child to read. That child might remember you decades later and be a happy reader, too.
What teacher do you remember?
Love to my readers,
Marguerite (Wunsch) Ferra
Cramer Hill resident
Product of Camden City Public Schools